NAMM offers signs of hope with CITES

NAMM offers signs of hope with CITES

Details have emerged from the latest CITES meeting held in Sochi, Russia, of a possible lifting of the ban on wood from the dalbergia species (notably rosewood) when used in musical instruments.

On Thursday 11th, NAMM issued the following statement, sunming up a proposed relaxation of rules that have caused major problems for instrument makers and musicians alike.

‘An international working group comprised of musical instrument industry representatives completed a major step at the CITES Standing Committee in Sochi, Russia, when the group recommended modification to the annotation covering the listing of all dalbergia species.  The proposed modification would exempt all finished musical instruments, finished musical instrument parts and finished musical instrument accessories containing Appendix II dalbergia species from the necessity to obtain an export permit to ship these products internationally, whether for commercial or non-commercial use.

“The outcome is the best we could have hoped for at this point in the process as it would exempt both commercial and non-commercial trade in musical instruments, parts, and accessories from permit requirements,” shared Heather Noonan, Vice President of Advocacy for the League of American Orchestras. “It is important to note that there will be many more steps involved in this order for this recommendation by those assembled in Sochi to move on to a final new annotation adopted by all Parties next May at the Conference of the Parties.”

“We are grateful for the ability to have actively engaged in the CITES process, and we’re hopeful for a positive outcome in Sri Lanka,” added Scott Paul, the Director of Natural Resource Sustainability at Taylor Guitars.  “At this point, however, what came out of the Standing Committee is only a recommendation and not a formal proposal but coming out of the meeting with a single, helpful, recommendation is important.”

‘The recommendation emerged at the CITES Standing Committee meeting in Sochi (October 1-5) where delegates from the CITES member countries agreed that commercial and non-commercial trade in musical instruments is not detrimental to the threatened species under consideration. The group recommended a path forward to a revised annotation, which was adopted by the Standing Committee. At present, the dalbergia statement prepared by the industry working group calls for the use of Harmonized Tariff codes in order to apply an existing reference point. A revised and final version of the Standing Committee’s recommendations will be posted by the Secretariat online here soon.

‘The proposal will need to be put in the form of a formal resolution, sponsored by a government body and be formally submitted for consideration at the 18th Conference of the Parties in Sri Lanka in May 2019.  If adopted at CoP18, the change would go into effect sometime in mid-summer 2019.

‘The on-site industry working group in Sochi was supported by NAMM, and headed by Heather Noonan, Vice President for Advocacy for the League of American Orchestras. Participants included John Bennett, International Association of Violin and Bow Makers; Mike Born, Fender Musical Instrument Corporation; Jacques Carbonneaux, French Musical Instrument Organization; David Eynck, Paul Reed Smith Guitars; Rob Garner, Forest Based Solutions; Michael Jousser and, Confederation of European Music Industries; Joe O’Donnell, International Wood Products Association; Scott Paul, Taylor Guitars; and Frank Untermyer, Martin Guitar.’